For the Term of his Natural Life

For the Term of his Natural Life (Norman Dawn, 1927) George Fisher (Rufus Dawes), Eva Novak, Dunstan Webb, Jessica Harcourt, Arthur McLaglen, Marion Marcus Clarke; prison saga, 10,000 ft, 101 min.

Norman Dawn’s lengthy silent feature from 1927 is one of the film versions of For the Term of his Natural Life. I’ve never read Marcus Clarke’s book, and the story is way beyond plausibility. However, that’s not the point. What is to the purpose is Graham Shirley’s wonderful restoration of the film, from the various elements that still existed. The National Film and Sound Archive is one of the best things a government ever put money into: they do a great job in this area.

For The Term Of His Natural Life stands as a landmark in the history of the production industry ... Its immediate success on the local market was assured, but its value in revival seasons and, more importantly, its value overseas, was gravely undermined by the arrival of talkies on the world market in 1928. Despite ... confidence about an American release, the film made no appearance there until June 1929 ... Pike & Cooper: 138, 140.

Films based (at least partly) on Marcus Clarke's novel include those following (in date order).

For the Term of his Natural Life (Charles MacMahon, 1908) prod. Charles MacMahon, E. J. Carroll, Messrs Gunn Osborne & Jerdan; from the novel by Marcus Clarke, dp Byers Coates; Martyn Keith, Rosie Knight Phillips, Mrs Barry Lane; 2000ft; prison at Port Arthur, Tasmania

Life Of Rufus Dawes, The (Alfred Rolfe, 1911) Spencer's Pictures, wr. Alfred Rolfe from the novel For The Term Of His Natural Life by Marcus Clarke, dp Ernest Higgins; Alfred Rolfe, Lily Dampier, Raymond Longford; 4000 ft

His Convict Bride (John Gavin, 1918) aka For the Term of Her Natural Life

The Tenth Straw (Robert G. McAnderson, 1926) convict melodrama

For the Term of his Natural Life (Norman Dawn, 1927) from the novel by Marcus Clarke; George Fisher (Rufus Dawes), Eva Novak, Dunstan Webb, Jessica Harcourt, Arthur McLaglen, Marion Marcus Clarke; prison saga


New: 17 October, 2012 | Now: 2 November, 2013 | garrygillard[at]gmail.com